My name is Riya Singhal and I am the curator of this archive. As an immigrant, I am drawn to stories about movement, migration, the crossing of borders and boundaries, and the impermanence of home.
Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) states that “everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.” Additionally, the article proclaims that everyone has the right to leave any country and to return to a country of origin or residence. Essentially, the inclusion of these statements within the UDHR signifies the fact that mobility is human right. However, governments around the world have increasingly imposed restrictions on human mobility and have made international borders less permeable.
The word “migrants” refers to people who leave their country of residence, either temporarily or permanently, for a variety of reasons that may include family reunification, educational opportunities, employment, environmental crises, political instability, and war. International migration is inextricably tied to other economic, social, and political issues.
Although migration is often regarded as a “problem” and negative consequence of globalization, human movement is not a new phenomenon in our world.
All people should be able to move freely around the world and be treated as equals in the new cities and countries that they come to call home. Unfortunately, this is not currently the case. Several of the interviews that are housed in this archive illustrate that immigrants are frequently made to feel as though they do not belong and are denied certain basic rights.
Recently, the threat of the coronavirus (Covid-19) has made it even more difficult for people to move and migrate. Many of us are now quarantined at home and unable to move about the world as we once could. Some people have been left stranded in various places and haven’t had the opportunity to see their loved ones in months. Due to the imposition of travel restrictions, many are unable to return home and several have missed important personal events. During these tough times, it is important that we all support each other as we attempt to literally and metaphorically return home.